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Can I Compost Horse poo & bedding?

(From the Pet bedding & other waste category | 3 comments - join the conversation)

horse-manureYes, you can compost horse manure & (nearly all) horse bedding options.

Well-rotted horse manure is a prized natural fertiliser amongst gardeners – as it’s a great soil conditioner and is usually freely available from stables or livery yards. Well-rotted horse droppings have the advantage over fresh ones because the nutrient levels in fresh can sometimes be a little “hot” (which can damage tender roots) and because the decomposition process makes seeds from grasses and weeds less likely to resprout.

Well-rotted horse manure is achieved by, well, leaving it to rot for a while – usually six months to a year. Some people stir it into their regular compost heap but because of the amount of “product” their horses generate, most horse owners have dedicated piles for the poop.

A pile of pure poo will take a lot longer to break down (and be smellier in the meantime) than one that is balanced in composting terms: manure needs to be balanced out with dry “browns” such as newspaper, cardboard – or, most conveniently, things like straw or woodshavings that are typically used as bedding in stables.

Whether it is wheat, barley or oat, straw will rot down quickly in a moist compost heap – the moisture can come from horse wee & poo (such as you’d get in their bedding) or if it’s a bit dry, from water (dregs from troughs is fine). The same applies to wood shavings, fibres and wooden pellets used for bedding.

A horse poo and bedding compost heap will benefit from turning during the composting process – once a month is ideal. This will help preserve airflow as well as making sure matter from the compost of the heap has some time in the warmer centre. (If you are unable to turn it, at least jab it with a garden fork or a stable/manure fork to help with aeration.)

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  1. Wood pellets horse bedding makes great compost

  2. My horses use rape straw bedding called equinola. I contacted them to ask if there was anything such as weed killer that would make them unsuitable for compost. The reply was that it is not suitable for compost, only bedding. I have asked for more details in case it is just a lazy answer. Do you have any information on rape straw in compost?

  3. Is there a problem if the horse has been wormed? Will the treatment kill all the worms in my compost bin?

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